SAINTWOODS is Much More Than a Clothing Brand

The lifestyle brand stretches into nightclubs, restaurants, events and more.

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When you take a look some of SAINTWOODS' products, the first word that comes to mind is vibe, as their clothes are chill, effortless, and swaggy with a hint of retro hipster and a little bit of Y2K. Founded by Nathan Gannage and Zach Macklovitch in 2006, SAINTWOODS is a product of the brand's unique background, which includes being front and center in the Montreal nightlife scene in the mid-2000s. After different stints in which the brand and its founders wore different hats, SAINTWOODS moved into the clothing realm with the launch of their official streetwear line.

With such a colorful history, it's no wonder that their respective collections always have a tad bit of the university party scene in them with their collegiate designs and themes. They recently launched—and sold out—their BASICS capsule, which was brought back by popular demand. We caught up with Nate and Zach to hear about the history of the brand and what we can expect in the future.

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ONE37pm: Great to be chatting with you guys! Let’s first start by diving into the history of SAINTWOODS. Can you guys give a rundown of the brand and how it came to be?

Nate: SAINTWOODS started with some friends I grew up with. We’re all from the same neighborhood in Toronto, St. Clair and Oakwood, so that’s where the name comes from. We moved from Toronto to Montreal with the intention of starting a lifestyle brand. At the time, we weren’t really categorizing it as a lifestyle brand, but we knew we wanted to throw events, have a clothing element, we had started a music blog. Over the years, that kind of grew into producing concerts and different style events.

Fast forward a few years, I was running SAINTWOODS on my own, and that’s when I met Zach. Around 2011, we did a couple events together and saw a mutually beneficial relationship and some overlap. Zach had been working in Montreal nightlife for quite a while at that point and that was kind of the new iteration of SAINTWOODS from that point forward. That’s kind of the brief history.

Zach: We were then able to take it from something that was based around the university scene in Montreal and start branching out into the overall culture we wanted to be a part of. So, we focused more on getting involved in Fashion Weeks or starting to work with art festivals and doing music programming for them and really started growing our community and our ability to work within the art, music and fashion landscape. Then, once we finally got the opportunity to open up our own venues (restaurants, bars and clubs), it allowed us to expand from there.

ONE37pm: What is the inspiration behind the clothing and designs of SAINTWOODS apparel?

Nate: I think it depends. You know, we draw inspiration from a lot of different places. It could be as simple as when you’re watching a movie or show and you seem something you like, but also certain time periods, definitely a lot of heavy 80s and 90s nostalgia, early 2000s, different subcultures over the years, nightlife plays a big part in everything we do, so it’s pretty wide ranging and depends on the collection itself. But we’re continuously pulling different references and have a shared kind of mood board that we are always drawing inspiration from.

We’re continuously pulling different references and have a shared kind of mood board that we are always drawing inspiration from.

- Nate Gannage

ONE37pm: How were you able to build the strong fanbase you have as a brand?

Zach: I like to look at it as more of an overarching community, and that’s just by being present and engaged with the people we surround ourselves with. When we’re throwing a party, whether it be at Apt 200 LA or Paris Fashion Week or Art Basel, our booth isn’t separated, we aren’t trying to stand in a roped off section, we’re out there meeting people; Same thing goes for our pop-ups. We attend other people’s events. I think as much as we are blessed to have some amazing friends and connections, what we’ve always loved is being out there and meeting people and connecting with them.

So I think our fanbase, for lack of a better term, has enjoyed the fact that they can meet us if they attend one of our events and we’re gonna introduce ourselves and have a good time, offer them a drink and get to know them a little bit, rather than trying to be some unattainable idea. I think that we’re there to show people that there are a couple ways to skin the cat, and for us it’s about developing a community through ourselves.

As long as you’re bringing good vibes and good energy, you’ll always be accepted.

- Zach Macklovitch

Nate: I think that naturally community building and inclusivity has been a part of the DNA of the brand since its inception and its part of our personalities as people and the ethos that we push forward, you know, as long as you’re bringing good vibes and good energy you’ll always be accepted. I think that kind of outlook shines through and other people can really feel a part of it.

ONE37pm: Can you walk us through some of the collections and products SAINTWOODS has for SS23. The BASICS collection is back, correct?

Nate: Basics is kind of an ongoing offering that is more logo based, that we are always adding to depending on the season, but it’s meant to be an evolving release where you might see similar products or different colorways re-released, which is something we do less often with our mainline. SW 017, which is our Spring/Summer offering, is releasing in late May/early June and is a mix of our traditional more graphic based items and some pieces that are a bit more “summery”, like our linen shorts or lightweight cotton button-up with SW patterned branding. It’s kind of a continuation of everything we’ve been doing in the past, just kind of geared towards what we’re excited about wearing and styling in these upcoming summer months and warmer weather.

ONE37pm: With us starting Q2, what are some of the things in the pipeline that you guys have that you can talk about?

Zach: Obviously we’ve been really happy to see the response to Apt 200 LA and the way our friends and extended community have come out and supported the product and we’re really excited to continue expanding out our flagship hospitality brand. We’ll be opening Apt 200 Miami at 1111 Lincoln some time before the end of the year. We are also looking at our new restaurant we’re opening in Montreal with a great group of individuals, particularly one of our favorite chefs, Danny Smiles. We’re excited to be growing that partnership and working on more projects with him in the future.

Nate: We have our Paris showroom and DTC pop-up coming up in June, definitely going to be doing some events in Paris surrounding that as well. We have numerous releases throughout the summer for SW clothing, beginning with SW017, which I just mentioned, a couple collaborations, a couple DTC releases, some Basics re-ups, our Fall/Winter collection releasing in August. We have a busy summer coming up and we’re excited to share everything we’ve been working on with the world.

I think that real life experiences are always a big part of what we do. Whether that be inspiration or what we’re pushing forward.

- Nathan Gannage

ONE37pm: Lastly, what inspires the SAINTWOODS team as a whole?

Nate: I’d say we inspire each other, kind of what we mentioned in the past about being inclusive, community building, music, art, clothing, culture throughout the past 50-60 years and constantly drawing inspiration from different places. The history of nightlife is a big part of our DNA as hospitality owners and operators and our friends that we’re blessed to have, great peers and colleagues that are all doing different cool things in their own right and always pushing each other and pushing the boundary forward. Overall pretty wide range and continuously looking to new forms of inspiration.

Zach: I think the cities we visit as well, obviously traveling as much as we do. People argue that today the internet is a flat place and we’re all looking at the same mood boards, but I don’t know if I completely agree with that. We’ve put an emphasis on traveling and really getting involved in these communities and meeting interesting people from all over the world, whether we were friends before or not. I think it’s that desire to see the world and meet new people that also adds to our inspiration.

Nate: I think that real life experiences are always a big part of what we do. Whether that be inspiration or what we’re pushing forward as the world becomes more digital, not just living on the internet or on our phones and trying to make real connections in real life settings.

Be sure to keep up with SAINTWOODS via Instagram and their website.

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